Aligning CX and Business Goals
Business Objective or Better Sameness?
Every business needs customers. Customer expectations are ever increasing. So, it’s not surprising that improving the customer experience remains a key business goal for 2022, with global spending on CX estimated to reach $640 billion (review42). The point to remember however, is that while we intentionally design experiences from the customers’ perspective, we also need to balance this with satisfying business goals and financial objectives. Furthermore, the experiences we create need to be innovative in order to be really extraordinary, rather than just Better Sameness (BS), a marginal improvement on what already exists.
Customer experience transformation strategies are long-term massive investments. CX teams often come under scrutiny from stakeholders seeking short-term results in the form of today’s dividends, at the expense of long-term growth. The truth is that shareholder intention is always ROI and therefore, the CX team needs to adopt mature measurement and prioritization strategies that satisfy shareholder business objectives while simultaneously accommodating an appropriately rich customer journey. More about journeys later, but this balance of focus will better ensure ongoing investment in customer experience.
The crucial connection between CX and business objectives
There’s a particular franchise store I like to shop at when doing some DIY. The branches are conveniently located and all the stores are consistent in terms of their in-store service and products they stock. In the past, I would be able to call the nearest branch directly to find out whether they had a particular product before heading out there. That way, I could head in a different direction to an alternative branch if need be. No time wasted. We all know how valuable time is these days.
Recently, the franchise implemented a central call center. Now, it’s impossible to get hold of the branch directly. While the person in the call centre can tell me what stock a particular store has of a particular product I need, the numbers are based on what the screen says, there is no way to verify whether or not it’s actually accurate and available in that particular store. There have been several times when my travels have been in vain. The result of course is that I now shop at a competitor store that doesn’t have a centralized call centre.
While the call centre may have satisfied a business need for better or more cost-effective business processes, it certainly has undermined the customer experience. The customer experience is designed from the customer’s perspective. Companies often miss the boat believing that the changes they have put in place, which are often to make internal processes more efficient, will also improve the CX. However, this is not the case if the organisation hasn’t considered the change through the eyes of the consumer.
On the flip side, you get companies that are so entrenched in the customer experience that they forget that without a return, there will be no business.
It’s essential that you align CX and business goals if we are to reap the rewards of long-term business growth.
So How Do You Achieve This Balance?
Customer experience strategies usually focus on the customer’s perspective and the journey along the touchpoints that customers experience when engaging with a product, brand, or organisation. CX is more than just a customer journey map. While customer-centricity is key, you need to have an outcomes-based process. One that takes shareholder needs and objectives seriously.
With this in mind, the points you establish along the customer life cycle now satisfy and align with certain desired business objectives. Measurement and iterative implementation will ensure customer-centricity and business viability. The result is ongoing real-time insights and CX transformation.
An outcomes-based approach that yields tangible business results is the best way to drive strategic customer-centric change within your organisation, forcing the organisational mindset that allows for quality, brand-building CX, instead of the same old BS.
We learn from Stephen Covey, to “begin with the end in mind.” For CX this means you need to have one eye in the present with the other watching the future. Advancing from your present status to drive current growth through customer experience success for today’s customer while simultaneously knowing what the ultimate business objective is and the experience you want to create for tomorrow’s customer and working backwards from that point in the future until it merges with where you are today. This is what Anthony, Gilbert, and Johnson termed Dual transformation.
CX Reformation – Is journey mapping the only tool?
Are customers always on a journey? Do they want to be? Sometimes, we just want to get something done without all the lace and frills.
Yet journey mapping is the standard when it comes to CX and businesses believe that customers need to be motioning along in a sea of journeys – all the time.
So, if you are using journeys and designing journeys, then to your customer, it will feel like a journey. Which is fine as long as that’s what they want their experience to be.
But in real life, journeys imply long travel or some profound personal growth. I’m not sure that grocery shopping or even banking equates!
Maybe we need to reform CX. Maybe creating extraordinary experiences is about less journeys and more about directly connecting a solution with a need.
More Than Better Sameness
By sticking steadfast to a journey mapping methodology, you may create a detailed, predictable experience. But any improvements you try to manipulate along the same sequence of behaviours are in essence small changes and just “better sameness.”
This means engaging in a CX strategy that reinforces what you (and probably your competitors) have always done, and doing it incrementally better, incrementally faster, incrementally more cost-effectively. Do customers even notice, and are they influenced by the slightly faster repose time, or the slightly friendlier staff?
The answer is to do something that grabs the attention of your customers. Something truly extraordinary.
The pandemic brought about some great, more than “better sameness” experiences. Many restaurants implemented digital or online menus in place of physical ones; SAB recycled beer crates to make face shields; In partnership with Vodacom, Discovery made free online doctor consultations available to all South Africans, delivery and courier companies began including essentials on their list of deliverable items.
Find Your Balance
The team at interact RDT will partner with you to create extraordinary experience for all your stakeholders – customers, employees and investors alike. Our insights-driven outcomes-based approach ensures we align your CX and business strategies keeping an eye on your objectives and a return on your investment.
Cut the BS from your CX. Get in touch and Let’s get started today!